Is Obama’s “Power Africa” Simply Enabling More Local weather Change
Since President Obama’s trip to Africa, attention has continued to give attention to energy development in Tanzania — together with the nomination of a White Home insider as U.S. Ambassador.
In his June 30 speech in South Africa, Obama announced the “Energy Africa” pledge of $7 billion, with one other $9 billion of personal money over 5 years to double access to electricity in the six sub-Saharan international locations of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania, as well as separate deals with Uganda and Mozambique for “accountable” oil and gas improvement.
“Power Africa” hinges on passage of the “Electrify Africa Act of 2013,” launched the day after Obama arrived in Africa “to assist affordable, dependable electricity” development. Whereas only a quarter of the area has electricity, the legislation is not so benevolent: “Africa’s consumer base of 1,000,000,000 people is rapidly rising and can create rising demand for United States goods, providers, and technologies, however the current African electricity deficit limits this development in demand.”
In other words, more electricity means we are able to sell them extra iPads and toaster ovens.
But how that electricity is generated is determined by whether “Power Africa” is a inexperienced expertise leader, or a climate-change enabler.
One signal was President Obama’s selection to provide a second energy speech in Tanzania throughout a tour of the diesel-powered Ubungo electric plant just lately upgraded by GE and Washington, D.C.-primarily based Symbion Energy.
It begs the question of why, whereas in South Africa launching “Energy Africa,” Obama did not visit the Jasper Photo voltaic Power Mission being developed by Google and California-based mostly SolarReserve — an organization granted South Africa’s “most popular bidder” status.
South Africa is creating sustainable vitality faster than anyplace on this planet, pouring $4.Three billion into photo voltaic in 2012 as it shifts from 93 % coal-fired electricity to forty three percent renewables by 2030. In November, South Africa permitted another $5.Four billion below Round 2 of the five-spherical Renewable Energy Independent Energy Producers Program that includes eight solar power plants and seven wind farms.
“Energy Africa” does embrace some renewable vitality, like Tanzania’s Singida wind farm and Kenya’s Lake Turkana wind undertaking, both which had been already under growth. Aldwych Worldwide has dedicated $1.1 billion to the two wind farms, and Harith Basic Partners has dedicated $70 million to Kenya’s Turkana mission.
GE — which makes wind turbines and toaster ovens — has additionally dedicated to “help develop” vitality in Tanzania and Ghana.
However the largest personal patron of “Power Africa” is billionaire investor Tony Elumelu of Heirs Holdings, pledging $2.5 billion for primarily oil and gasoline junma petroleum equipment manufacturing zero tasks. Elumelu’s subsidiary, Transcorp, recently bought Nigeria’s gasoline-powered Ughelli power plant for upgrading by 2017 in partnership with Symbion Power, owner of the power plant the President went out of his way to tour. Heirs Holdings’ wholly-owned Tenoil Petroleum & Power can also be creating Nigeria’s oil and gas.
Starting to get the picture
In the junma petroleum equipment manufacturing zero 2 “Energy Africa” speeches, Obama mentions solar, wind and geothermal power a grand complete of none. In truth, the closest he comes is saying investments will embrace “cleaner vitality.” But, the White Home Truth Sheet mentions “latest discoveries of oil and fuel” and “use of pure resources” six occasions as playing a “crucial role” in “close to-time period international energy security.”
Another telling improvement after the trip that suggests “Energy Africa” is about extra than simply turning on lights for the poor was Obama’s naming of a white, southern lawyer and former lobbyist as U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, a nation with a harbor important for U.S. imports and where Power Africa’s “Large Results Now!” program will focus.
On July 9, the White House officially nominated Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Employees for Planning, Mark Childress. Generally known as a “fixer” who expedites insurance policies, the White Home bio of Childress only briefly mentions his very short stint from 2005 to 2006 as a lawyer for Australia’s Balkanu Cape York Growth Company, where he negotiated oil royalty deals for the Indigenous folks. Interestingly, the nomination came as Tanzania’s Ministry of Vitality and Minerals announced the “Imaginative and prescient 2025” initiative for changing unreliable hydro power with gasoline, coal, and renewable power. Tanzania’s newly discovered oil and gasoline reserves, rich coal fields, prospects for uranium mining, and the biggest gold reserves in Africa behind South Africa, have also not gone unnoticed by the White Home.
If confirmed, one can only hope Childress would not repeat a latest climate change gaffe in Liberia where the U.S. Embassy sponsored a July eleven workshop with three U.S. firms to hype Biomass Gasifier technology for powering remote areas.
The awkward downside: Biomass gasifier know-how is a double local weather change whammy since it burns biomass to manufacture “syngas” which is then offered to be burned once more as gas, based on the federal government’s own November 2012 National Renewable Energy Laboratory review of gasifier know-how. That research stumbled when most firms “were not concerned with sharing confidential value or engineering info,” but NREL did decide junma petroleum equipment manufacturing zero that in just making the syngas, a gasifier — like coal-fired power plants — produces toxic ash that requires disposal. And like any refinery, excess gasoline is routinely routed to flare stacks “for incineration and exhaust to the ambiance.”
The regrettable perception was that the U.S. Embassy helps American companies export local weather change to Africa.
President Obama advised his African viewers that “Energy Africa” will supply “the power needed to carry folks out of poverty” and “assist clear power to guard our planet and combat climate change.” However the gaping disconnect toward adopting a low-carbon growth path continued when he failed to acknowledge the 2013 Africa Carbon Discussion board taking place whereas he was in Africa, or Kenya’s progressive feed-in tariff coverage, or Google’s announcement it was investing $12 million in U.S.-based SolarReserve’s South African photo voltaic mission.
Instead, Obama’s speech was only a variation of 4 1/2 years of his lipstick strategy to environmental, energy, and climate change insurance policies. Like lipstick, you cannot just slap “clear” or “renewable” on the face of coverage statements that include coal, natural gasoline, and diesel and hope no one notices the ugly underneath.